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May 11, 2020

Basarab Nicolescu

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A “STOP!” – planetary and individual*

Basarab Nicolescu

‘Everything happens as if a “STOP! had been given on a planetary level. Of course, it was not this summary and unconscious entity of the infinitely small, the coronavirus, which gave this order. This order seems to emanate from the cosmic movement itself disturbed by the mad dream of the human being to dominate and manipulate Nature.

Everything stopped suddenly for half the countries of the world. This immobility did not fail to reveal to us all the flaws of globalization centered on profit and money. But which of the world’s politicians and leaders will be the ones to see? We are plunged into the blindness of the darkness of our habits of thought and the ideologies of progress, totally out of step with reality. How do you open your eyes to what’s going on? In my opinion, the only solution is the spiritual evolution of the whole of humanity. It alone could take into account all the levels of Reality and the Hidden Third.

It also happens as if a “STOP! had been given on an individual basis. We are suddenly in front of ourselves, before the mystery of our being, thus giving the exceptional opportunity of a spiritual evolution for each of us. This spiritual evolution of each human being conditions that of humanity.

We thus discover that the spiritual underdevelopment of the human being and humanity is the real cause of the crisis that we are going through and that we are going to go through.

But what spirituality is it? It is a radically new, transreligious and transcultural spirituality. Transdisciplinarity offers the tools for the establishment of such a spirituality, based on the community of destiny of all beings on earth. Two thousand years ago, the greatest visionary of all time, Jesus, asked “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44).

Without love nothing is possible to act on our destiny.

The world at the time refused such a message and preferred to kill Jesus. Two thousand years later, we are in exactly the same situation, on the brink of self-destruction of the species, a danger increased since by technological development and the immense means of destruction. The anthropocene without spiritual dimension will lead us to the brink of the abyss.

We must make, with great humility, a new pact of partnership with Nature and with all beings on earth – humans, animals, birds, trees, plants. We must stop defiling Nature with our excessive pride and our desire for omnipotence. All war should be declared a crime against humanity and all means of destruction should be destroyed.

All this can be understood as a utopia which goes against the principle of reality.

One possible answer is that of Michel Houellebecq: “I don’t believe in statements like” nothing will ever be the same again “. We will not wake up, after confinement, to a new world; it will be the same, only a little worse ”. If we contemplate the behavior of political leaders and public opinion in this period of crisis, it is to be feared that Michel Houellebecq is right. Politicians are returning to their usual language of mutual hostility and this will cause considerable social tension.

The media bombardment plunges us into an anxiety-provoking climate where, paradoxically, even death takes an abstract dimension: a dead person is just a number in a statistic. Nothing of the suffering of the one who dies, alone, suffocated by the coronavirus, reaches our place. This is glaring evidence of our spiritual underdevelopment.

The hidden hypothesis of Michel Houellebecq’s reasoning is the impossibility that human beings can evolve.

But another solution exists. Man must be born again if he wants to live.

Our task is immense. Let’s try not to be hypnotized by the multitude of doomsayers and apocalyptic thinkers of all kinds who predict the fall of the West and the demise of our world.

The word “Apocalypse” does not mean “end” or “destruction”, but “Revelation”. We are fortunate to have before our eyes, here and now, an extraordinary Revelation which can allow us to access Life and Meaning. I suggest reading, in these difficult times, the extraordinary book of Paule Amblard Saint John – The Apocalypse, illustrated by the tapestry of Angers [1]. Paule Amblard offers us a coherent interpretation of The Apocalypse of John by the necessity of the spiritual evolution of man. The appalling plagues which cross the text of The Apocalypse are, in truth, the torments of the human soul separated from what founds it. The Apocalypse of John is a message of longing and hope.’

[1] Paule Amblard, Saint Jean – L’Apocalypse, illustrée par la tapisserie d’Angers, Diane de Selliers Éditeur, Paris, 2017.

* Text translated from French by Gerardo del Cerro Santamaria.


Seth Godin:

Marketers used to have little choice. The only marketing was local. The local neighborhood, the local community.

Mass marketing changed that. Now, the goal was to flip the culture, all at once. Hit records, hit TV shows, products on the end cap at Target and national TV ads to support it all.

With few exceptions, that’s being replaced by a return to clusters.

The cluster might be geographic (they eat different potato chips in Tucscon than they do in Milwaukee) but they’re much more likely to be psychographic instead. What a group of people believe, who they connect with, what they hope for…

The minimal viable audience concept requires that you find your cluster and overwhelm them with delight. Choose the right cluster, show up with the right permission and sufficient magic and generosity and the idea will spread.

We’re all connected, but the future is local.

Footprints might be a fine compass, but they’re not much of a map. That’s on us.

More from Seth:

Mathematicians don’t need to check in with the head of math to find out what the talking points about fractions are this week.

That’s because fractions are fractions. Anyone can choose to do the math, and everyone will find the same truth.

Most of the progress in our culture of the last 200 years has come from using truth as a force for forward motion. Centralized proclamations are not nearly as resilient or effective as the work of countless individuals, aligned in their intention, engaging with the world.

We amplified this organizing principle when we began reporting on progress. If you’re able to encounter not just local truth but the reality as experienced by many others, collated honestly, then progress moves forward exponentially faster.

Show your work.

One of the dangers of our wide-open media culture of the last ten years has been that the signals aren’t getting through the noise.

Loud voices are drowning out useful ones. It’s difficult to determine, sometimes, who is accurately collating and correlating experience and reality and who is simply making stuff up as a way to distract us, to cause confusion and to gain influence.

I’m betting that in the long run, reality wins out. That the practical resilience that comes from experimentation produces more effective forward motion.

In the words attributed to Galileo, “Eppur si muove.”

It pays to curate the incoming, to ignore the noise and to engage with voices that are willing to show their work.

~

Thomas Merton:

The question arises: is modern man…confused and exhausted by a multitude of words, opinions, doctrines, and slogans…psychologically capable of the clarity and confidence necessary for valid prayer? Is he not so frustrated and deafened by conflicting propagandas that he has lost his capacity for deep and simple trust?

-Life and Holiness

Where men live huddled together without true communication, there seems to be greater sharing and a more genuine communion. But this is not communion, only immersion in the general meaninglessness of countless slogans and cliches related over and over again so that in the end one listens without hearing and responds without thinking. The content din of empty words and machine noises, the endless booming of loudspeakers end by making true communication and true communion almost impossible.

Each individual in the mass in insulated by thick layers of insensibility. He doesn’t hear, he doesn’t think. He does not act, he is pushed. He does not talk, he produces conventional sounds when stimulated by the appropriate noises. he does not think, he secretes cliches.

-New Seeds of Contemplation

Culture and Clichés correspondent Lynn Berger

We’re constantly told to try something new. ‘Innovate, don’t stagnate.’ But doing things two, three or 30 times creates space for reflection – and innovation. And it can even bring unexpected joy.

‘Politicians know that there are votes to be won with an appeal to what is old and familiar. And they know that this message is most effective when it is repeated endlessly:

So here’s the paradox: in order to appreciate repetition for what it is, we actually need a new sort of attention.

It’s probably impossible to achieve the level of attentiveness we bring to first times the tenth or hundredth time we do something. But it’s entirely feasible to look more attentively at repetition, not to see it as a stumbling block but as a goal in itself. Not as a copy but as a variation. I suspect that the routines and rituals that make up daily life, the “grind” we’ve learned to fear, would feel less like a slap in the face to the zeitgeist, and more like something worthwhile all on its own.

Repetition is the norm: we’re constantly repeating things, whether we want to or not. But there’s a difference between inattentively doing things again and doing things again by choice. Conscious, attentive, deliberate. With the full awareness that this matters just as much, and with the willingness to see, hear and feel different things when you feel, hear and see them again.’

https://thecorrespondent.com/455/once-more-for-feeling-why-trying-new-things-is-overrated-and-repetition-is-vital-to-society/60193938805-824daa94

 

A certain level of fatigue sets in. The media landscape has fragmented so much that consumers can filter their information diet to those outlets that reflect their worldview. 

 
The answer is nothing less than a political terminus after years of economic policies which have degraded democracy. 
 
The decline traces the erosion of the public sphere, and the instrumentalisation of identity by powerful actors unwilling to share their power. 
In this new landscape, political choices are loyalties – akin to picking a football team and sticking with it through triumph, relegation and internal scandal. Whether a football team or a president, the avatar gives voice to its supporters’ sense of tribalism. 
These impulses may be relatively harmless when confined to sports, but when they are extended to politics, they effectively underwrite authoritarianism.
The term “post-democracy”, coined by political scientist Colin Crouch, describes a state where electoral politics is restricted to a limited number of issues, while the crucial needs of the citizenry are addressed by the private sector. These companies lobby politicians, who may be in hock to them. Corporate agenda enacted by elected representatives might look like ideology – the right to own firearms, for example, or not to pay tax for someone else’s healthcare – but they are in fact determined by commercial interest.
Nesrine Malik
The Correspondent

Marianne Williamson

We need an entirely new politics: one that shifts us from an economic to a humanitarian bottom line, from a war economy to a peace economy, from a dirty economy to a clean economy, and from who we’ve been to who we’re ready to be. #repairamerica

Dalai Lama

Change starts with us as individuals. If one individual becomes more compassionate it will influence others and so we will change the world.

 

‘The beauty of ambiguity…’

Remember that in religious art 
Red signifies humanity
Blue signifies divinity 
White is the color of joy 
Gold signifies authority.
 
“To me painting is not about what I see, it’s about what I don’t see. This view is contained within my perception that philosophy, religion and art
are essentially transforms of one another.
My interests lie within the beauty of ambiguity held within painting that pursues a sacred direction within the realm of Christology.
Following the path of using a monastic discipline of Lectio Divina approach to my paintings allows a process of reading, reflecting, meditation and transformation to occur from my creation of the work itself, to its own development and creation and back to me through a transformation or element of kenosis. I see an important aesthetic within that which is considered poor, both as in poverty as well as in spirit.”
-Daniel Bonnell

Daniel Bonnell is known throughout the United States, England and Israel as one of the few noted sacred painters of the 21st Century. His art is found in private collections, cathedrals and churches around the world. He holds a B.F.A. from the Atlanta College of Art and an M.F.A. from the Savannah College of Art and Design. His major online gallery is found at https://bonnellart.com.


Why is Julian of Norwich so appealing today? I think because she is totally vulnerable and transparently honest, without any guile. She is “homely”; in medieval terms, that means down-to-earth, familiar, and easily accessible. She is keenly aware of her spiritual brokenness and longs to be healed. So do we. She experiences great suffering of body, mind, and soul.

So do we.

She has moments of doubt. So do we. She seeks answers to age-old questions. So do we. Then, at a critical turning point in her revelations, she is overwhelmed by joy and “gramercy” (great thanks) for the graces she is receiving. We, too, are suddenly granted graces and filled to overflowing with gratitude. Sometimes, we even experience our own divine revelations.

-Father Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation

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